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Algeria: The passing of Ali El Kenz

Saturday 7 November 2020, by siawi3


The passing of Ali El Kenz


It is with much sadness that CODESRIA announces the passing on of the eminent Algerian Sociologist, Ali El Kenz. Professor El Kenz was an eminent scholar on the sociology of development and science with a specific focus on Africa and the Arab world. He published extensively on a wide range of subjects including the political economy of Algeria and the Arab world, labor, academic freedom and science, technology and society. An avid public intellectual, he wrote regularly for newspapers in both Algeria and France.

Born in 1946 in Skikda, he served as assistant professor of philosophy at the Université d’Alger (1970-1974) and later as Professor of Sociology in the same university until 1993. Before retiring, he was an Associate Professor at the Université de Tunis and most recently Professor at Université de Nantes. He also previously served as the Director of Research at CREAD (Centre de recherches en économie appliquée au développement) in Algiers and a resident at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes.

Prof. El Kenz was an active member of CODESRIA, a scholar whose work and life reflected a resolution of the contradictions of pan-Arabism and pan-Africanism. He participated in many of the Council’s activities and published often in the journals of the Council. He led and edited the output of a CODESRIA National Working Group that produced the study Algeria: The Challenge of Modernity (1991). This book, produced under extreme conditions of abuse of academic freedom that led to the death of many of the contributors, illustrate the tenacity and resilience of Prof. Ali El Kenz. Prof. El Kenz also participated as a resource person in the 1997 Democratic Governance Institute. In 2008, the Council called upon Prof. El Kenz to give the Leopold Sedar Senghor Lecture at the 12th General Assembly in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The lecture, titled “Governance and Governability” is available at

Prof. Ali El Kenz played significant roles in the governance of CODESRIA. He was as a member of the Council’s Scientific Committee from 1999 to 2008 and later the Vice-Chair of that Committee from 2002 to 2005. CODESRIA and its community of scholarship will sorely miss Prof. El Kenz. On behalf of this community, we wish his family our sincerest condolences.

May his soul rest in Peace!